Black Stars Beckon (GM Reference)


Strange Aeons

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The purpose of this thread is to clarify questions arising in this adventure. This is a SPOILER filled zone, do not venture further if you do not wish the adventure to be spoiled for you, and spoiler tags are not required when posting here.

This thread is a GM Reference thread for Part 6 of the Strange Aeons Adventure Path. Links for the individual threads for each part are as follows:


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

As far as I can tell, there is no nexus trait noted for the elder thing city in Part 3, Paris in Part 4, nor the Jaundiced Tower in Part 5. Based on flavor text, I think the elder thing city has the nihilism trait and Paris has the disorder trait. I have no idea what the Jaundiced Tower's traits are.


Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook Subscriber

My party latched onto the Viol in book 1 hard, they haven't found the note inside yet though. Should I award them if they still have it when they meet Erich Zann?

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

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Generic Villain wrote:
As far as I can tell, there is no nexus trait noted for the elder thing city in Part 3, Paris in Part 4, nor the Jaundiced Tower in Part 5. Based on flavor text, I think the elder thing city has the nihilism trait and Paris has the disorder trait. I have no idea what the Jaundiced Tower's traits are.

I'll help answer questions here, but Adam Daigle's answers always trump my own.

Oof, this should have been explicit, the fault is mine. That said, you got it right based upon flavor, so I'll confirm it.

Aevan-Vhor (the Azlanti/vampire nexus) possesses the trait of decadence. While you can find the other traits, it revels in its own abandon. Hunger, desire, and self-revulsion are all themes here.

Bohlvarai (the Elder Thing/shoggoth) nexus possesses the nihilistic trait. This is a ghost town in the truest sense. Parts of Edgar Allen Poe's poem, City in the Sea comes to mind.

Spoiler:
LO! Death has reared himself a throne
In a strange city lying alone
Far down within the dim West,
Where the good and the bad and the worst and the best
Have gone to their eternal rest.
There shrines and palaces and towers
(Time-eaten towers that tremble not!)
Resemble nothing that is ours.
Around, by lifting winds forgot,

Alternate Paris reflects disorder, with warring factions and a police state... Lost mad souls wander the streets. The Music of Erich Zaan is an obvious source of inspiration, but I would alo recommend people check out one of the less mentioned Carcosa stories written by Robert Chambers, In the Court of the Dragon, which also takes place in Paris.

Finally, the forming Thrushmoor nexus also possesses the nihilistic trait. It was necessary to repeat one and the possible transformation and awakening of the King in Yellow / Hastur makes this highly appropriate.

Hope this helps!

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Holy crap. I just finished reading this, and I'm absolutely amazed. That's an amazing job with the final scene. My jaw was on the floor when I got to that section of the adventure.

I cannot wait to run this.

Paizo Employee Developer

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Sorry I messed up and omitted the nexus traits for a couple of the locations, folks!

Jim is totally right about which nexus has which trait (duh, he wrote the thing). The only thing that I might change in his above post is that the Thrushmoor nexus isn't quite fully formed, so it might not fully express any of the traits quite yet. The nihilistic trait (or even disorder) is a fine choice, though.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I have to say the PCs going back and stopping themselves from being murdered by the Tatterman was amazing. Really brought the whole campaign full circle and was a legitimately emotional scene as a reader. This was an incredible cap to what might be my favorite Adventure Path yet.

I wonder though... is there a single nexus - perhaps the original Carcosa - with CR 25+ threats, where mythic PCs can face Hastur and maybe, just maybe, put the Yellow King down for good? I was expecting something like this in the Continuing the Campaign section, but it's absence isn't too surprising. After all, as the introduction notes, Lovecraftian adventures aren't about slaying deities.

And of course nothing's stopping an enterprising GM from making such an adventure themselves.

Paizo Employee Developer

Carcosa is certainly vast and varied enough that something like that could take place, however, that would be entirely up to said enterprising GM.


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I was musing over ways of making the ending even darker. This is just brainstorming but what if the fact that knowing so much about Xhamen-Dor creates a problem for the PC's who have enjoyed immunity to its effects throughout the AP? That protection must wear off at some point -- meaning that they're ticking time bombs. They may have temporarily banished him but eventually their intimate knowledge of him will make them succumb to his influence and spread him further. Perhaps this will cause them to have to surrender a portion of their minds once more to the Mad Poet in exchange for blissful ignorance.
The drama could be upped by requiring one PC to make the sacrifice and remember forever -- remaining in Carcosa as a sort of guardian who is dedicated to stopping X-D when he makes his millenia-later return.

When the rest of them return to Golarion, they will not remember the great deeds they performed and neither will the townsfolk who they saved from being absorbed into Hastur. However, their minds will be scrubbed clean of X-D's influence and they can live happily from that point on -- probably with some inexplicable nightmares occasionally. You could make the final scene of the AP them emptying their bags of holding and celebrating all the treasure they "somehow" came across. Of course, that's when they stumble across a scrap of paper that they missed when ripping up and burning Lowls' notes on the Inmost Blot. On it is a strangely familiar name...


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Such a well-written adventure. I even got bittersweet emotions to well up upon reading of poor Erich Zann's fate, making the best life of the worst possible situation.

I'm once again in awe of the creativity and work put into these Adventure Paths, and now that I have all six books I'm eager to begin the campaign.

Count Lowls has already made a memorable appearance at my table in search of lackeys for his unknown goals, so now I'm guaranteed an exciting reveal when we switch to this AP.


Spastic Puma wrote:

I was musing over ways of making the ending even darker. This is just brainstorming but what if the fact that knowing so much about Xhamen-Dor creates a problem for the PC's who have enjoyed immunity to its effects throughout the AP? That protection must wear off at some point -- meaning that they're ticking time bombs. They may have temporarily banished him but eventually their intimate knowledge of him will make them succumb to his influence and spread him further. Perhaps this will cause them to have to surrender a portion of their minds once more to the Mad Poet in exchange for blissful ignorance.

The drama could be upped by requiring one PC to make the sacrifice and remember forever -- remaining in Carcosa as a sort of guardian who is dedicated to stopping X-D when he makes his millenia-later return.

When the rest of them return to Golarion, they will not remember the great deeds they performed and neither will the townsfolk who they saved from being absorbed into Hastur. However, their minds will be scrubbed clean of X-D's influence and they can live happily from that point on -- probably with some inexplicable nightmares occasionally. You could make the final scene of the AP them emptying their bags of holding and celebrating all the treasure they "somehow" came across. Of course, that's when they stumble across a scrap of paper that they missed when ripping up and burning Lowls' notes on the Inmost Blot. On it is a strangely familiar name...

I really like this idea, and I'd like to use something like it in my campaign, although since I want to run post-Campaign stuff I won't have to have one of the PCs sacrifice themselves to watch for X-D.

Really solid AP, love all the nods and references the connection to their own past. The PCs made their own destiny.

Dark Archive

ARIADNAH p. 58

incorrect XP for given CR of 18
XP CR: Computed: 153600 Stat Block: 102400


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

"Cabaret du Oubli" is not proper French, it should be "Cabaret de l'Oubli".


So I was just looking at the random encounter table for this book, and I noticed the Zygomind.

My group and I were actually just discussing how miserable a monster it is to fight the other day. It can cast Greater Create Mindscape at will, DC29 upon touching it or get stuck in the Mindscape, DC36 then DC29 to not get sucked into the Mindscape upon getting within 300ft of the Zygomind, and DC29 if its undead hit you to not get stuck in the Mindscape.

On top of that, it's a plant, so you can't even cast Mindscape Door to get out, since it's a Mind-Affecting spell.

It's such a silly creature, it will be funny to throw at my players.


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The Imperator wrote:


On top of that, it's a plant, so you can't even cast Mindscape Door to get out, since it's a Mind-Affecting spell.

If you apply that then Greater Create Mindscape is also a mind affecting spell, so the Zygomind isn't able to use the spell at all. I'd make this application of Mindscape Door an exception.


Plausible Pseudonym wrote:
The Imperator wrote:


On top of that, it's a plant, so you can't even cast Mindscape Door to get out, since it's a Mind-Affecting spell.
If you apply that then Greater Create Mindscape is also a mind affecting spell, so the Zygomind isn't able to use the spell at all. I'd make this application of Mindscape Door an exception.

That's true, I could probably allow that. Still, given waking up means you will almost certainly be subjected to the Mindscape again, this monster just seems like a really tough fight for its CR.


Does Count Lowl's fear of cats not come up in this (from Book 2 Thrushmoor Terror)


John Ryan 783 wrote:
My party latched onto the Viol in book 1 hard, they haven't found the note inside yet though. Should I award them if they still have it when they meet Erich Zann?

I was just commenting about what a missed opportunity this was to a friend/fellow GM. Something you find in Book 1, Scene 1 comes back to be useful and/or amazing in Book 6, Dying Scenes.

He laughed about it and said the party treasury player is so selling it when we hit the first town, not once thinking it may be significant. I agreed. If I had my way, the players would be too scared to sell things like this just in case it came back to be a plot hook.

Been wracking my noodle for ways to intimate that it might be more than just a bow-less Viol, and that they may be holding something of true value.


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The Imperator wrote:
Plausible Pseudonym wrote:


If you apply that then Greater Create Mindscape is also a mind affecting spell, so the Zygomind isn't able to use the spell at all. I'd make this application of Mindscape Door an exception.
That's true, I could probably allow that. Still, given waking up means you will almost certainly be subjected to the Mindscape again, this monster just seems like a really tough fight for its CR.

Given that the ecology portion of the Zygomind specifically says that Mindscape Door can be used to get out of its Mindscape, I'd say that usage is supported.


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We kicked off book six last night and I thought I'd share some of the highlights. I ended up swapping around some of the initial encounters so that Cassilda could help them before they encountered the Pallid Mask.
-I added some chasms to the Mad Trumpeter fight to give it some more opportunities to send the PC's into the depths below. I also added a treasure cache recessed in one of them that had a cumulative 10% chance every turn of being dislodged from the wind and falling in. Needless to say, that raised the stakes a bit. However, the arc de triumph had to be my music choice. "Fanfare" by Liturgy was so awful and just plain weird that it ended up making players really feel like they were being driven mad.
-I didn't expect much out of the Pallid Mask, but between Displacement and his damage-halving touch attack, he was deceptively tanky. The fight stretched out about 5 rounds or so and one player was driven insane by the yellow sign and the other was erased from reality by his CHA drain. Rather than force them to burn the Luck Blade wish they just got to bring him back, I offered him a deal in private away from the players. Cassilda could bring him back, but his new form would leave him forever tied to Carcosa like she is.
-They met with Eldarius and agreed to help him retrieve his daughter. They opted to take a Death Coach to get there quicker. Little did they know, this Uber driver wouldn't be a pushover. Round one it successfully feared 1/2 of the party and closed in. I clearly remember the hilarious exchange I had with the party investigator when it made its attack on him.

"The Death Coach delivers it corrupting touch! Does 34 beat your touch AC?"
"..."
"Okay roll a will save"
"I made it"
"Okay you take half of 19d6"
"..."
"Now roll a fort save. It's attempting to extract your soul"
"Wut?"
"Yeah, roll!"
"I made it"
"Okay, you still take 3d6+18"
"What would have happened if I failed?!"
"Just 180 damage"
"..."

I had it run away so they could follow it once it hit half health but two rounds was enough to convince the players that this creature was likely the most powerful thing they'd fought so far -- and it was just their taxi!


I just read many of the content of the book, including the section Continuing the campaign, and i am surprise to found nothing about the Count Lowls successor . Does I miss something?

Who will take his place as Count of Thrushmoor?

I have the impression that the Prince Aduard Ordranti III will choose a member among the noble families of Versex. I figure this will cause rivalry never seem before between the House because it the first time in many century that it will not be a member of the Lowls family who rule the county.


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Another week another step further into Carcosa. The group arrived at Avaric's mansion and did their best to behave in a civilized manner. A lot of hilarious roleplay exchanges took place, with Medium getting put in time out for attempting to steal the ioun stone, Brawler attempting to woo Delamaria, Bloodrager attempting to socialize (while rendered deaf from a greater madness), and Investigator attempting to avoid Avaric who took a great liking to him. I do wish the published material had a more detailed, hour by hour outline of how the night goes (kind of like the museum auction portion of SWRPG's incredible Jewel of Yavin adventure) but I managed to whip up a series of events that created some immediacy and conflict to the way the night played out. Half the group teleported Delamaria out after convincing her to leave, but they also made the mistake of bringing the "poor, innocent twins" who were in danger as well. Fighting them 2v2 was rough but they managed (even though sticking a couple levels of antipaladin on most monsters is sadistic, thanks to CHA bonus-to-saves).
Unfortunately, back at the mansion, Avaric caught on to what they were up to, and him and his appointment of four guards managed to isolate and wallop the Bloodrager and the Investigator. Bloodrager barely managed to escape with the unconscious investigator via burst of speed. The next day they got their revenge and raided the mansion during the "day", killing Avaric and his undead allies using the element of surprise (and the power of buff stacking).
Next session, they activate the stelae and head into the elder thing city. I'm not sure if I'll have them fight the Kudimmu. It's such a cool, memorable creature with fantastic abilities but I don't think it stands much of a chance against a fully rested party -- even with a surprise round. The chances of it lasting 11 rounds so that its Larvae buddies can join in is very unlikely as well. I may make it a benign encounter.


Did Bohlvarai the other night. I was a little bummed the Mutate didn't get any awesome art or really much of a description at all. It also seemed pretty one-dimensional in terms of its abilities too. However, the pair of alchemists accompanying it were monstrous with their confusion fast bombs. It was very nearly a wipe and they had to call Cassilda in for a favor. As a side note: The "19" puzzle took ~6 minutes for them to complete. I had them fight 1 Larvae, plus 1 more for every 5 minutes they took as a way to make the puzzle have higher stakes.
High points of the night:
-The party getting their butts kicked by a Shoggoth and having to TP out.
-Failing miserably at trying to ally with the Elder Things.
-"Those penguins seem weird. Possibly a trap?" "No way man, they're from Mountains of Madness -- haven't you read it? We follow the penguins."


Did they end up fighting the Kudimmu? Or did you run it as a benign encounter, like you were thinking?


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I ran it benignly but one of the players was so disrespectful things ended up escalating into combat anyways. To up the challenge, I designed the fight so that the rows of foliage "pulsed" every round for 8d6 negative energy damage to nearby PC's. That let the Kudimmu use its drag ability to greater effect by repositioning them in the "blast zone". By the way, they need to make more monsters with the Dimensional Agility tree because that is just way too much fun :).
Edit: As a side note, there's a lot of potential to make the Kudimmu even more awesome. Lots of undead buddies would make awesome healing targets for the negative energy bombs. You could also make any bleed damage the players take in the field end up healing the Kudimmu as it absorbs the blood through its roots. You could also make the bleed damage retrigger each time they pass through the shrubbery as well.


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We're approaching the end! Last night the party finished the once-beautiful city of Paris in one fell swoop. Hearing them put on their best French accents and reference Croissants incessantly was pretty great and I think they really like that there was a "real-world" city they could play around in. They diplomatically made it past the Gendarme's and met with Armel who wasn't very pleased to find out that the party had a way to bring Zane back to power. Funny enough, Armel didn't get very much done during the encounter because he made the mistake of thinking the mirror-imaged Medium wearing a ring of Displacement was actually killable. However, the squad of Gendarme's were pretty gnarly. That many attacks vs. touch AC with deadly aim chewed the party up very quickly.

I decided to make the Eiffel Tower encounter even more of a set piece by making it a straightforward 11-turn "defend the ritual" type thing. Zane offered 9 Gendarme's to aid the defense but the first wave of attackers (a pack of Shantaks) kept them occupied and unable to assist party in beating back the rapidly ascending Bhole. I made the Bhole rotate around the tower every round and use only its bite attack to make it more of an environmental attack that kept them moving. Meanwhile, they focused on the true enemy of the encounter -- an ancient void dragon that I added. I decided to include it for 3 reasons. It fit the space theme. One of the players was really hyped for a dragon after seeing (what he didn't know was a) shantak on the awesome cover art. Lastly, book six of a pathfinder AP didn't feel right without one. I realized during the fight I may have gone overboard with the CR here, but before the party's luck ran out (no, seriously, they were dealing with back to back prismatic sprays and suffocating breaths) the Ancient Void Dragon rolled a natural 1 on its save vs. possession and it was easy breezy from that point on.

I sincerely doubt we'll finish the campaign next session as there's a lot of stuff in pet 5 but it's getting very close to the end!


Ran the first session of this adventure, which was pretty crazy. I had a lot of fun playing the Pallid Mask, figuring out what each PC was after and showing them how they could achieve it through Hastur. In the end I had him and Cassilda destroy each other for now instead of having the party fight him because I want to use him in the finale instead.

After that, I emphasized the sheer danger and weirdness of the place. While they were just looking for a place to rest, going through the "Adjacent Nexuses" section in the bestiary, I threw powerful monsters at them (Plankta, Annihilator, etc.) while they ran away.

Once in Aevan-Vhor, I menaced them a bit more with the death coach (which successfully killed someone) and a gallowdead. I tried to emphasize the danger that they haven't yet learned the rules of this place, which ended up being both funny and scary.

What I'm having trouble with is figuring out exactly what Avaric is doing with Erich Zann. He's keeping him in a weakened state... why? What's his plan??


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Finished Aevan-Vhor with good results. I played it as a pretty plot-heavy session, swapping out a number of monsters in favor of more focus on partygoing and intrigue.

One of the PCs had a pocketwatch, so I used it as an excuse to let them know exactly how much time was passing. The first part of the session was an exciting race against the clock to get Delmaria out. They ended up taking the harder route of helping her enjoy everything at the party so she'd be more likely to listen when they convince her to leave early. At the end Avaric himself came in to convince her to stay, but they managed to convince her to go anyway.

After that, they returned with a message from Eldarius to Avaric to release the musician, but Avaric feigned suspicion and asked for Eldarius to come himself (which he can't do because he's a ghost). This stalled the PCs long enough for the Bleeding Moon to start and all the undead to attack the town. The PCs hid and infiltrated the Manor while everyone was gone, found the dungeons, and fought some monsters.

At this point I was running out of time so I skipped the memory-loss part entirely (been there done that) and only used Oromith the Nemhain. The PCs had a ton of trouble with the combination of anti-life shell and hit-and-run tactics.

When the PCs went to get Zann's instrument, they found Avaric waiting for them ("Looking for this?") and fought him while he monologued. The adventure book didn't really go into his plans or motivations much so I had to figure something out on my own.

His goal was that he wanted to expand his control. He's trying to take over the Paris nexus by backing Armel the Leng Ghoul after Zann fortuitously fell into his hands. Avaric is the one who gave Armel his Vorpal greataxe. Zann is kept alive for now so Avaric can get information about Paris and Carcosa in general out of him.

After he got to low health he challenged them by claiming that without him in charge, the Aevan-Vhor nexus would be overrun by monsters. Was this nexus really as bad as the other, barren ones they passed through? Is undeath really a sin when the alternative is having your soul consumed by Hastur? His arguments actually managed to convince the party to make a deal with him where they wouldn't interfere with each other. The fate of the Paris Nexus is still up in the air, though.


For those of you that have finished (or nearly finished) the AP, what would you think of giving PCs a short reading list to complete before getting into the real meat and potatoes of the AP? My group got nearly to the end of module 1 before needing to take a hiatus, but as we'll be starting back up in a few weeks (and adding a player) I wanted to not only get them back into the feel of a Lovecraftian setting, but also give them some material that gets referenced in the AP so that they can recognize them as they go. So far as I know, none of them are Lovecraft readers, so I'd imagine Erich Zann, Call of Cthulhu, and Dagon (just because that's a personal favorite of mine) would be decent. Any other suggestions?

Paizo Employee Developer

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Captain Battletoad wrote:
For those of you that have finished (or nearly finished) the AP, what would you think of giving PCs a short reading list to complete before getting into the real meat and potatoes of the AP? My group got nearly to the end of module 1 before needing to take a hiatus, but as we'll be starting back up in a few weeks (and adding a player) I wanted to not only get them back into the feel of a Lovecraftian setting, but also give them some material that gets referenced in the AP so that they can recognize them as they go. So far as I know, none of them are Lovecraft readers, so I'd imagine Erich Zann, Call of Cthulhu, and Dagon (just because that's a personal favorite of mine) would be decent. Any other suggestions?

Here's a suggested reading list I provided to all of the authors in the Adventure Path's outline:

• The Shadow Out of Time, by H. P. Lovecraft
• The Dunwich Horror, by H. P. Lovecraft
• At the Mountains of Madness, by H. P. Lovecraft
• The Call of Cthulhu, by H. P. Lovecraft
• Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath, by H. P. Lovecraft
• The Doom that Came to Sarnath, by H. P. Lovecraft
• The Repairer of Reputations, by Robert Chambers
• The Yellow Sign, by Robert Chambers
• The Great God Pan, by Arthur Machen
• The Wendigo, by Algernon Blackwood
• The Willows, by Algernon Blackwood
• The House on the Borderland, by William Hope Hodgson


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Adam Daigle wrote:
• The Willows, by Algernon Blackwood

you stop that


I wouldn't recommend giving the players a reading list, although the GM should read these. Think of the references as sort of a bonus for people who have read the books, but they aren't the point of the adventure. The game should be able to stand on its own merits.

The other thing about the references is that they can work in reverse! After the campaign is complete, I believe that many of my players will read these books and enjoy them more for having some first-hand experience with the things referenced.

If the players are unfamiliar with the genre entirely, though, it may be worthwhile to have them read a single short story just so they can understand what sorts of things to expect. The Call of Cthulhu seems to be a good choice for this.


negative_energy wrote:

I wouldn't recommend giving the players a reading list, although the GM should read these. Think of the references as sort of a bonus for people who have read the books, but they aren't the point of the adventure. The game should be able to stand on its own merits.

The other thing about the references is that they can work in reverse! After the campaign is complete, I believe that many of my players will read these books and enjoy them more for having some first-hand experience with the things referenced.

If the players are unfamiliar with the genre entirely, though, it may be worthwhile to have them read a single short story just so they can understand what sorts of things to expect. The Call of Cthulhu seems to be a good choice for this.

I can see where you're coming from, but the last paragraph most accurately describes my players. I believe only one of them has ever read anything remotely related to Lovecraft, and while I definitely don't want to give away any spoilers (though I am throwing in occasional references* on my own), I do want to be able to give the players somewhat of an understanding for the overall tone of the AP. While I do think it absolutely stands on it's own merits (I've probably said it before, but book 3 is the best thing I've ever read from Paizo), my group is currently playing through two other APs, Legacy of Fire book 5 (I'm a player) and Carrion Crown at the start of book 3 (I'm also a player). Carrion Crown definitely shares some similar themes, but they're both a far cry from Legacy of Fire, so I want to be able to really set the overall tone in their minds. Adam's list seems pretty solid for that (though I'm surprised The Music of Erich Zann isn't in there, given that he's a character here, I assume someone working on book 6 was just a fan).

*

Spoiler:
My group plays online through MapTools and uses Teamspeak 3 as our voice client, given that a couple members of our group aren't local. In order to add ambiance, the DM will usually create an extra user in Teamspeak to output music or sound effects through a virtual audio cable. For my music-user, I've named him Hastur but I wrote it in Cyrillic (they like Reign of Winter and I'm thinking about adding in a small nod to that) since none of them read Cyrillic and they're mostly too lazy to Google translate it.
In this way, Hastur is watching over them throughout the whole campaign.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Captain Battletoad wrote:
For those of you that have finished (or nearly finished) the AP, what would you think of giving PCs a short reading list to complete before getting into the real meat and potatoes of the AP? My group got nearly to the end of module 1 before needing to take a hiatus, but as we'll be starting back up in a few weeks (and adding a player) I wanted to not only get them back into the feel of a Lovecraftian setting, but also give them some material that gets referenced in the AP so that they can recognize them as they go. So far as I know, none of them are Lovecraft readers, so I'd imagine Erich Zann, Call of Cthulhu, and Dagon (just because that's a personal favorite of mine) would be decent. Any other suggestions?

May I recommend the children's book?

Paizo Employee Developer

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Captain Battletoad wrote:
Adam's list seems pretty solid for that (though I'm surprised The Music of Erich Zann isn't in there, given that he's a character here, I assume someone working on book 6 was just a fan).

Yeah, I should have included that in my list above. I forgot because I didn't have it on the master list in the outline and only called it out for the final adventure. (Of course, Jim was way ahead of me on that anyway once it was clear that Zann was going to be an included NPC.)


There's an error in the tactics block of the Elder Thing psychics on page 37.

Quote:

During Combat Against the shoggoth, the archivists take

on a support role and cast spells on the PCs to assist them. Afterward, they spend 2 points from their phrenic pool on intense focus to help overcome the shoggoth’s spell resistance.

Intense Focus gives a bonus on Concentration checks, not overcoming spell resistance. For that you'd want the Relentless Casting amplification, which only costs 1 point. GMs should swap out the amplifications.


I don't know if I missed something somewhere or what, but what effect does the group of Gendarmes have on the Deadly Skies? That section only mentions what happens when the PCs do *not* have the help. And area J2 simply says the group "helps clear the sky". One less wave? One less Shantak per wave?

Paizo Employee Developer

Darkbridger wrote:
I don't know if I missed something somewhere or what, but what effect does the group of Gendarmes have on the Deadly Skies? That section only mentions what happens when the PCs do *not* have the help. And area J2 simply says the group "helps clear the sky". One less wave? One less Shantak per wave?

If they have the escort, they only have to deal with the four shantaks listed. If they don't, they face two more on the fourth round and two more on the seventh round of the combat.


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I've finshed up Bohlvarai and Paris and am now preparing for the finale.

I had to remove most of the encounters in Bohlvarai to play up the desolate atmosphere (plus they skipped the caves with teleportation). It was a lot of fun to play up the sheer weirdness of the place. I had fun with the Elder Thing archivists viewing the PCs as barely sapient until convinced otherwise. I played the Mutate as extremely cautious, setting off traps at the PCs and running away a lot. I also described it as spontaneously developing new abilities on the fly based on things it saw, which was fun.

I managed to keep the nature of Paris a secret up until the Eiffel Tower was first mentioned by pronouncing it as "PAH-REE." One of the PCs ran Rasputin Must Die a while back, so I managed to drop in a reference to the Russian Revolution by talking about the Ballets Russes. One of the PCs managed to psychically control a radio through Telepathic Bond, knowledge (engineering), and a book on electronics taken from Bohlvarai. They ended up using it in the theater to insult Armel to get him away from his guards and used a Wall of Force to fight him alone. Also, the bard learned the Charleston.

I had a lot of fun with the Bhole encounter. I've been allowing them to drastically speed up the ritual by taking a -20 penalty to the skill checks (the investigator is super good at them) and they barely managed to hold it off long enough to finish the ritual (while feather-falling!) and run away. I had fun with the Roll20 map and music as well.

I plan to finish this campaign next session. They are currently wondering how things could possibly get any weirder.


Is this there a good rubric for how to assign stats for making a Great Old One from scratch? I wanted to make a quasi-Great Old One, like the Star Seed at the end of the book, but I didn't know if there was a good rule of thumb to follow or what? There abilities seemed well above normal for there size, which is why I was curious.


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Well, there's the monster creation guidelines and the Great Old One subtype. The important points to figure out (beyond ordinary monster creation) seem to be their unique method of immortality, their unspeakable presence aura, and under what circumstances they can send out nightmares.


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I've finished the campaign. It was a lot of fun and, while I tweaked details here and there, I didn't feel like I had to make any large-scale changes.

I really felt that moving the Pallid Mask fight to the end of the adventure was a good thing. I started out the fight with him just taunting the PCs while not taking any damage from them. An especially good moment was when they used their Gem of Seeing to discover that he was real but the PCs themselves were not! That of course lead into the out-of-phase part.

Being thrown out of existence was pretty awesome and terrifying for them. I tried to make it as hopeless as possible, only allowing them to make their way to the Asylum with extreme effort, a unique bardic masterpiece, some divine intervention, and a wish. Once there, the Advanced Bythos fight was a bit underwhelming mechanically but was still exciting enough.

After returning to the tower they fought the Pallid Mask who was exceptionally tricky. The Horrific Revelation ability was tough to describe but in the end I went with him leaning on the fourth wall and describing how they were all figments of someone else's imagination. I also gave him the Mirage Arcana / Yellow Sign trick from the Shrike Worms. Improved/Greater Feint wasn't strong enough to use so I gave him Weapon Focus / Quarterstaff Master instead so he could use his touch attack at the same time.

The big final fight went pretty well, although many of the spells Ariadnah was using I have had to houserule in the past to make less unfun. I also had to make clear the the Star Seed is the final boss and she was just a side character trying to take advantage of the situation.

One thing I think was important was to emphasize just how hard it is to get out of Carcosa. I established that if you die in Carcosa, Hastur gets your soul instead of going to any afterlife. The whole adventure was supposed to be a suicide mission, and even then have a very small chance of working. I also added an army of monsters swarming towards the PCs during the final battle to emphasize the hopelessness. Horror in high-level play is really hard, but I think that it managed to happen here. They did manage to escape back to Golarion (barely) by commandeering the witch's ritual with DC 50 knowledge (arcana) and spellcraft checks just before being torn apart.

It was a fun adventure, everyone had fun. Dreams of the Yellow King was everyone's favorite part, while the middle parts of The Thrushmoor Terror and What Grows Within didn't have clear enough goals. Other favorite elements included the Tatterman, the Keeper, fighting Xhamen-Dor's husk, Paris, and being erased from existence.


Grats on finishing the AP! Actually closing one of these out is definitely a big deal. Which of Ariadnah's save or lose spells did you change/cut? I ask because I generally don't like them as a mechanic but I left them in because of the insane bonus to saves the Medium gave the party. They succeeded vs most of them making the medium feel awesome but I imagine things would have gotten really lame if 1 or 2 people got taken out right away.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

We... have been marathoning this sucker, and though I did not DM, now that we're done (Yay! WE DID IT! Without any deaths, although my Occultist came pretty damn close at the Eiffel Tower),I just want to say, to everybody involved-thanks for one HELL of a ride.


I've developed a whole gigantic list of houseruled spells. For example, Flesh to Stone gradually petrifies you over a few rounds, Possession grants another save with a cumulative +1 bonus for every 2 points of damage per caster level the target takes, and other characters can dive into a Maze spell to try to rescue the target.

I'm still impressed that this AP seemed to actually pull off high-level RPG horror. Congratulations to everyone who made it through!


To keep with the eldritch themes, I'm thinking about giving some special abilities to my players at the end of the campaign, while also removing a bit of their humanity.

I'm planning to do this as part of their recovering using the optional Call of Cthulhu rules. When they finally pull themselves together, I want them to realize that something happened and they aren't... the same.

I was thinking some minor traits that mirror some of the Great Old One abilities, or maybe I'll try to tailor the abilities even more to the players. Maybe even change their creature type to mess with them further, giving them some phenotype changes. Thoughts?


So my players are about to enter Carcosa next session. One of them, the changeling witch who has been reading the Necronomicon, is also starting down the path on the Accursed Corruption. The player is eagerly on board with this.

I'm also planning on attaching Corruptions to triggers in the book, and afflicting other players with them. If they drink any wine at Avaric Manor, they're getting the Vampirism Corruption, if they eat any fruit, they're getting the Ghoul Corruption.

The thing is, I'd like to add some other corruptions as well, but I can't figure out which to use and where to slot them. Anyone got any ideas?


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A note for when the adventure reaches Paris, especially for those GMs who are trying to not make it obvious: Remember that the Eiffel tower was not painted the current brown until 1968, in the adventure it should be a yellow-orange.


Pretty sure my players are going to figure it out pretty quick when they get there, since the NPCs will be talking in French. Luckily the party witch took Tongues as one of her hexes.

I'm hoping they have a self-smacking moment when they do, since Cassilda has already told them they need to go to, as I pronounced it, "Aey-Van Voor" "Bowl-Var-Eye" and "Pah-ree".


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Is there a place in the Outer Planes that cultists of the Great Old Ones go upon death? I don't recall it being mentioned that they have a court in the Boneyard, so do they just get sent to the plane of their alignment?

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